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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Fallacy of Fairness part IV

The other day on the Fallacy of Fairness part III thread, commenter "Ginx" basically asked Why are we sacrificing some portion of our finest children for the sake of the middle? I thought it was on today's installment but it was actually back when we were on "part II" of this series that Sowell addressed this question in his typically succinct manner...

"Those with that vision do not want to even discuss evidence that students from different groups spend different amounts of time on homework and different amounts of time on social activities. To admit that inputs affect outputs, whether in education, in the economy or in other areas, would be to undermine the vision and agenda of the left, and deprive those who believe in that vision of a moral melodrama, starring themselves as defenders of the oppressed and crusaders against the forces of evil.

Redistribution of material resources has a very poor track record when it comes to actually helping those who are lagging, whether in education, in the economy or elsewhere. What they need are the attitudes, priorities and behavior which produce the outcomes desired.

But changing anyone's attitudes, priorities and behavior is a lot harder than taking a stance as defenders of the oppressed and crusaders against the forces of evil."


Yes indeed, who could argue that "changing behavior is alot harder than taking a stance as a defender of the oppressed and a crusader against the forces of evil"? It would appear that administrators are taking the easy way out and ignoring certain realities. Sowell had another series awhile back entitled "Heroes and Villains" in which he described how often times, those on the left need to manufacture villains and paint themselves as the heroes in order to pass whatever social agenda happens to be the flavor of the day. Rationality is the first victim of such scenarios as politicians who have neither produced anything in thier entire lives, nor have ever had to meet a payroll appeal to emotion and suddenly know what's best and "fair" for all while economists are left to "puzzle" over how they arrive at their conclusions.

Moving on, a commenter by the name of Marcus had a couple of, shall we say, "interesting'' quotations about different groups of people and how there are varying achievment levels between them. One such quote from Marcus was..Some races won't catch up. They are just not able. My reply to him was something I had learned from Sowell awhile back. I replied (quoting an article) "Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune editorial writer, opened the media door to this educational truth when he wrote, ‘About 8 percent of Harvard University undergraduates were black. One-half to two-thirds of them were either West Indian or African Immigrants." This would seem to indicate a correlation between the nuclear family and discipline from a father figure who is all to often absent among African-American households which happen to skew disproportionately single-parent (read: mother only). I would be interested in any other theories as to why this statistic is as it is.

Another item I'm sure Marcus had not taken into consideration is the fact that when intelligence tests were administered on new recruits during the First World War, black soldiers from certain areas on the country consistently outscored whites. In a very informative study by Jennifer D. Keene, we read....

"...test results in which literate black draftees from a few northern states outscored white draftees from several southern states. Blacks draftees from New York, for instance, scored higher than white draftees from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, while black draftees from Illinois could add Alabama and Kentucky to that list. Black conscripts from Ohio received even higher scores, bettering white draftees from all the previously mentioned states as well as Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee (Yerkes, 1921, 690-
91, tables 205, 206)"

So as we can see, one's skin color really isnt a factor. What are some possible explanations? Sowell proposes an idea that seems unique, if for no other reason, it isnt really discussed much amongst members of the media or politicians because it can take away from them their "Hero" status. We read....

"It is also a hard fact of history that some races had far more advanced technological, economic and other achievements than others at particular times and places. But those who were ahead in some centuries were often behind in other centuries-- the Chinese and the Europeans having changed positions dramatically after Europe eventually caught up with China and then surpassed it within recent centuries. But there was no evidence of any dramatic changes in genetics among either the Chinese or the Europeans.

While striking changes in the relative positions of different races at different periods of history undermine genetic explanations, the fact that there has been no period when their achievements have been the same undermines today's presumption that different economic or other outcomes are due to discrimination.

Whatever the innate capacity of any race, class or other group, what pays off in the real world are developed capabilities, and these have never been the same-- or even close to being the same-- for individuals or groups."

You see? Things change over time and the group that was once "top banana" in one generation will someday be playing catch-up several generations later. What goes around comes around and I doubt that anything is ever going to change that, despite what politicians might attempt to socially engineer or dream of doing. The wheel of history continues to turn. Who can tell what the status will be in a generation from now?






5 comments:

Ginx said...

Things are they way they are, we have no control over them, and since they're going to change anyway, we should abandon justice...

JD, your fatalism is impressive.

Marcus Wellington said...

‘About 8 percent of Harvard University undergraduates were black. One-half to two-thirds of them were either West Indian or African Immigrants." This would seem to indicate a correlation between the nuclear family and discipline from a father figure who is all to often absent among African-American households which happen to skew disproportionately single-parent (read: mother only). I would be interested in any other theories as to why this statistic is as it is.

1) Why did you assume these immigrants came from nuclear familiy groups?
2) Eight percent. An incredibly low number. And only a perportan of that come under the Curse of Ham (Only one of Ham's children did God decide to be slaves forver. Not all non-whites are meant to be slaves.) So that low low number includes some that are not under God's curse.
So the percentage is eight percent OR LESS.
Such a low percentage proves MY point.


the Chinese and the Europeans having changed positions dramatically after Europe eventually caught up with China and then surpassed it within recent centuries.

Do you think the Chinese are under the Curse of Ham?

Gandolf said...

"Do you think the Chinese are under the Curse of Ham?"

Actually i think they tend to eat much more chicken, than ham.

But anyway they seem to be moving forward very fast at present,seems their economy has been blessed.While the U.S.A and many other countries including NZ have been struggling a little lately.

Either its got more to do with differing factors and situations that exist around us at different times,or maybe at present the gods prefer countries with less believers

Ross said...

Hello J.D,

This comment isn't related to this post, but I'd welcome your comments on my blog posting about RFK.

JD Curtis said...

Been a bit busy lately, I'll try and catch up...

Ginx, I don't think that showing that Europe and China have traded places over the centuries is exactly "fatalism". I think that if we here in the US resigned ourselves to a fate in which we would become a second rate power in the world then THAT might qualify as a fatalistic worldview.

Marcus, what did you think of the study that indicated that black soldiers from certain states consistently outscored white soldiers? Your thoughts please.